Man's Cumberland Infirmary cardiac arrest 'avoidable'

image captionMartin and Gillian Digan say their experience at Cumberland Infirmary has left them traumatised

A cardiac arrest suffered by a man who went to an A&E with internal bleeding was avoidable, an inquiry has found.

Martin Digan, 63, also suffered a seizure and was placed in an induced coma for six days following delays in his care at Cumberland Infirmary.

The hospital has accepted failings and apologised, according to an NHS Resolution report seen by the BBC.

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust said it was unable to comment "due to ongoing legal matters".

Mr Digan, who lives near Brampton, was admitted to the A&E department in Carlisle with internal bleeding at about 01:00 GMT on 5 February 2020.

A Serious Incident Investigation Report (SIIR) carried out by the trust, and seen by the BBC, found there were delays in Mr Digan being fully assessed, receiving medication and having a blood transfusion.

When the department's consultant went off shift there was no "clear ownership" of Mr Digan's case, the review said.


The department was "overcrowded" and Mr Digan's wife Gillian had to "provide personal care on several occasions" to her husband as the nurses were too busy.

Mrs Digan, 61, said she was given bedpans and gloves to deal with her husband's bleeding.

He should have been transferred to another department within four hours but was still there at about 10:20 when he suffered a seizure, with respiratory and cardiac arrest following, after which he was moved to intensive care.

Mr Digan said it was a night of "mayhem" and he will refuse to return to the "death trap" hospital until he has confidence improvements have been made.

NHS Resolution, which oversees clinical negligence claims, said the seizure, cardiac arrest and intensive care admission could have been avoided with quicker treatment.

It also said the trust was "very sorry" for the "shortcomings" in Mr Digan's care.

The trust's SIIR listed recommendations for improvements including better communication between staff, improved patient assessments and ensuring an "adequate flow" so the A&E does not become overcrowded.

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